Suilad a mae govannen, mellyn! ("Greetings and well met, friends!" in Sindarin)
PLEASE READ THIS HELPFUL INFORMATION
A word about "Elvish"
There is no one language called “Elvish.” There are many different languages spoken by the Elves, including: Quenya, Sindarin, Telerin, Nandorin,and Avarin. Only two of these languages were developed enough by Tolkien to be spoken or written: Quenya and Sindarin. The one being spoken in the movies is David Salo’s standardized Sindarin, although there are a few lines in Quenya.
Where can I learn Quenya or Sindarin?
Thorsten Renk’s Sindarin and Quenya courses (available in several languages) can be found at Parma Tyelpelassiva (he also has an Adûnaic course), and there is a Quenya course by Helge Fauskanger at Ardalambion.
What is the difference between Quenya and Sindarin?
Both languages developed from a common beginning. Sindarin is the language spoken by the Elves who remained in Middle-earth. Quenya is the language of the Elves who journeyed to Aman, the Blessed Realm where the Valar live. In Middle-earth, Quenya is only studied in books, much like Latin today (though it was the native tongue of the Noldor in Middle-earth, who learned Sindarin after arriving), while Sindarin is used for daily communication. Most Quenya words end in vowels, whereas Sindarin words mostly end in consonants. Listen to Tolkien read Namárië in Quenya and A Elbereth Gilthoniel in Sindarin.
Where can I learn about all of these languages?
The site with the most information on the most Tolkienian languages is Ardalambion. Parma Tyelpelassiva also has several articles about several different Tolkienian languages. The Elvish Linguistic Fellowship publishes a journal called Vinyar Tengwar and has some informative articles; their resource-list is useful. Books on Sindarin and Quenya become obsolete with the publication of new information from Tolkien’s notes and papers. Many internet websites offer incorrect information. There are excellent email discussion lists called ELFling (now migrated here) and Lambengolmor, with all posts archived and searchable. Another email discussion list, TolkLang, is long since dead but still searchable and archived, as there are numerous bits of information on it that will be of interest to the linguistic-minded. There is an analysis of Adûnaic at Lalaith’s Middle-earth Science Pages.
Where can I find a Sindarin or Quenya dictionary?
Didier Willis’ Hiswelókë Sindarin Dictionary is an excellent resource; there is a Beta version online with a wordlist in English, German, and French. There is a program form called Dragon Flame for PC’s, and also a handy PDF version, though v2.0 dates from 2003 and has some outdated forms that we now know to be misreadings/misspellings. There is an excellent Quenya word list at Ardalambion also.
What did they say in the movies?
For everything you could possibly want to know about languages in the movies, go to Gwaith i-Phethdain.
How do you pronounce these languages?
You can go to Glǽmscrafu where many, many passages from Tolkien’s linguistic corpus (Quenya, Sindarin, Noldorin, Khuzdûl, Telerin, Valarin, etc.) are read in audio files. You can hear Tolkien himself recite pieces of The Hobbit and LotR (including certain names) here. More information on pronouncing them can be found in Appendix E of LotR, the Note on Pronunciation in the Silmarillion, and in The Road Goes Ever On.
Can I find out what my name is in Quenya or Sindarin?
You can go to Quenya Lapseparma for many names translated into Quenya. If you want your name in Sindarin, find the meaning of your name at Behind The Name and then ask someone here to translate it for you! Taramiluiel has translated many Real Life names into Sindarin.They’re available at Tara’s Home. But beware of the name generators at The Barrow Downs and Chriswetherell.com. These give random elements from Sindarin and Quenya, and do not actually translate your name; you can type in gibberish, and it will still give you a "translation".
What books or sites are not to be trusted?
The Languages of Tolkien’s Middle-Earth, by Ruth Noel, is out-dated and terribly inaccurate. Also, The Grey Company does not teach Tolkien’s languages, but used them to create their own language. Be wary of any site that does not specify between Quenya and Sindarin. Learnelvish.com and hotelf.com should be avoided, as they are very inaccurate.
What about David Salo's book Gateway to Sindarin?
You can read a review of his book here.
How can I learn to write the script that is on The One Ring?
This is called the Tengwar. It is just a script, not a language. You can find out about it at Amanyë Tenceli or from Per Lindberg’s excellent Guides. For examples of how numerals were written in Tengwar, see Dan Smith . Also, if you wish to carve out ’runes’ or Cirth, go to Omniglot; the Angerthas Daeron, Angerthas Moria, and Angerthas Erebor can be found here. How to write Rúmil’s Sarati can be found here. An excellent article on the history of these scripts and their different Modes and uses, can be found here, though you need the fonts Tengwar Parmaitë, Tirion Sarati, and Cirth Erebor to read it. A document of the known tengwar samples can be found here.
Where can I find fonts to write with the tengwar?
You can find Tengwar Parmaitë and Eldamar at Amanyë Tenceli, as well as a few for the Sarati and Valmaric scripts. Also worth looking at is the cursive font found on the One Ring. Do not download the incorrect font Tengwar Gandalf.
What about Tolkien’s other languages, like Dwarvish and Entish, can I learn those?
No, not really. Tolkien did not develop these languages well enough to be spoken or written; but Tolkien did "represent" Rohanese with a version of Old English/Anglo-Saxon, like he "represented" Westron with English and the language of Dale as Norse. What little we know about Dwarvish can be read at Ardalambion.
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